Out. Of. Stock. Few things can cause as much frustration among retail businesses as these three words. Whether you’re selling products online, in-store or both, maintaining adequate stock levels is critical to customer satisfaction. Inventory control software assists retailers in finding that inventory sweet spot by:
- Monitoring product availability
- Establishing order schedules
- Predicting consumer demands
It would be great if you could just order a ton of inventory without having to worry about carrying costs. But that’s simply not the reality we live in, especially if you’re trying to maintain a competitive price advantage. Instead, retailers often rely on a business management system to help them achieve a balanced inventory that ensures:
- Customers have uninterrupted access to the products they need
- Capital isn’t unnecessarily tied up in inventory costs
Don’t Help Your Competitors
Every time a customer sees an out-of-stock label on a shelf in your store, it’s an opportunity for one your competitors to pilfer their patronage. Even the most loyal customers are bound to shop elsewhere if they’re unable to find what they need.
With the help of barcoding and integrated inventory control software, you’ll be well equipped to track your stock levels and establish timely purchasing schedules to ensure your inventory is replenished at the right time.
Identify Popular Items
In addition to providing the products your customers need, you also want to make sure these products are close at hand. For instance, if you operate a store that sells swimming pool supplies, you probably sell a fair amount of water sanitizer and other chemicals. If your pool store software indicates you have bromine discs in stock, but they’re located in the back warehouse, that doesn’t do your customer any favours.
A business management system will help you identify which products are your best sellers so you can always have them in a prime retail area. This reduces the time it takes to fulfill orders, which helps keep customers happy.
It’s easy for retailers to fall into the habit of relying on anecdotal evidence for product sales. For instance, the aforementioned bromine discs might have been your best seller for years. Therefore, you continue to order them based on the assumption that they’ll remain a popular item.
However, in recent years, many swimming pool owners are switching to saltwater pools, which use a different type of chemical. If your pool store software is unable to recognize this trend, the fallout will be twofold:
- You’ll have an excess of the older chemical, which increases carrying costs
- You won’t meet the increased demand of customers wanting saltwater chemicals
Having the ability to cycle out obsolete or unsold product is a key function of any inventory control software system.
For more on this topic, read: Inventory Management Software: The Cost of Stock Imbalances.
For inventory control software that helps you maintain balanced stock levels, talk to Windward Software. Our System Five business management system works for companies of all sizes.